One Week With The NYPD (Reprinted with Permission)

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With the rise in excessive and deadly force, a blog in 2007 began with "And Justice For Sean," written when a Queens County Grand Jury handed down an eight count indictment show justice, elusive, is still possible.

How many other names can we add to this ever growing list. A badge is not intended to be a license to kill.

Sometimes the boys in blue are not what we would hope them to be and sometimes they are more and go silent in their dedication, other times they go about doing what they do and we notice or we don’t.

Three different stories, highlighting a week in the New York City Police Department, with countless other stories that will never be told or heard or remembered.

And Justice for Sean . . . .
March 19, 2007

By Janet Walker

New York, NY – Today, just days before what would have been Sean Bell's three-month wedding anniversary, a Queens County Grand Jury handed down an eight count indictment formally charging three of the five officers that massacred him on his Wedding Day forcing full accountability for the viciousness of the crimes.

The NYPD officers, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora, were each charged with manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment. A third officer, Marc Cooper, was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment. Two other officers who were involved in the exchange of gunfire have not been charged in the groom’s death.

Richard Brown, Queens County D.A., issued a statement regarding the duty of the Grand Jury stressing that the outcome of the grand jury does not equate to the guilt of the officers. When a Grand Jury is convened their charge is to conclude, over the course of evidence presentation, if there is enough evidence by law to formally charge an individual with a crime. It is the trial jury’s charge to evaluate the evidence and conclude guilt or innocence.

The extent of the investigation, according to the Press Statement issued by the Queens D.A, included presentation of over 500 exhibits, the interviewing of over 100 witnesses, twenty-two days of Grand Jury testimony and according to law personal accounts from the officers and supporting witnesses.

The shooting sparked outrage by civic and community leaders. The Rev. Al Sharpton has been acting as Victim’s Advocate for Sean’s family and fiancé, Nicole Paultre, and has issued the following statement, "No one has the right even with badge and uniform to become the judge, jury and executioner." He also stated, "We are not looking for revenge. We are looking for it to not happen again."

The shooting outside the Jackson Heights Queens nightclub left a spray of bullets around the area including a local occupied Air Train Station and an occupied neighborhood residence both of which were included in the indictments. The NYPD's Internal Affairs, has had to look at other issues besides the obvious including the more sensitive issues such as undercover profiling procedures and the "wanting to impress" factor. These issues not detailed in the indictments will be issues raised in the trial.

The undercover operation left Sean Bell dead, and two others, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman injured and a family that will mourn.

Quoting Richard Pompelio founder of the New Jersey Crime Victim's Law Center, "When someone is murdered, there is created a river of grief that will continue to flow until everyone who ever knew that person is dead."

For Sean's family, fiancé, daughter, that is going to be a long, long time.

Four Dead, Including Two Auxiliary Officers, in West Village Shooting Rampage

March 14, 2007

By Janet Walker

New York, NY – Manhattan's Greenwich Village erupted in gunfire last night as two NYPD Auxiliary police officers and two others were killed in a exchange of gun fire that began with an botched robbery and ended with the perpetrator dead on the sidewalk.

The initial assault began about 9:00PM on the corner of Houston and Sullivan Streets in the usually peaceful area of Greenwich Village, a Bohemian section of New York City, where a single gunman walked into De Marco's Pizzeria, one of many open-air eateries in the area, and after asking for a menu opened fire on the bartender.

According to local news reports the perpetrator was fleeing the scene on foot and two NYPD Auxiliary police officers, Eugene Marshalik, 19, and Nicholas Todd Pekearo, 28, followed him into the Lion’s Head Bar about four blocks away near Bleecker and Sullivan Streets where the gunman shot and mortally wounded the officers.

NYPD officers responded to the scene and the shooter exchanged gunfire wounding several officers before he was killed. The shooter has been identified as David Gavin, 32, a New York City resident, who appears to have targeted the DeMarco's bartender, Alfredo Romano, 35.

Early reports indicated robbery may have been the motive, although no witnesses have been able to confirm robbery as a motive. At press time, a single motive has not been determined.

According to Police reports, as many as 23 rounds of ammunition were discharged and the gunman was found to be carrying a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. NYPD also recovered a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun along with a bag of ammunition belonging to the shooter.

The two officers showed their dedication and passion for New York by volunteering for the NYPD Auxiliary and eventually gave the ultimate sacrifice of dying in the line of duty.

NYPD auxiliary officers patrol the streets, unarmed, as first eyes for their NYPD brothers. Often overlooked, the Auxiliary Officers maintain the same spirit of civic mindedness and duty to the calling as their fellow officers. Many Auxiliaries continue the calling and take the NYPD test. Auxiliary Officers are usually dispatched to patrol the many major events that New York City hosts allowing NYPD foot patrols, mounted units, and other specialty units of the NYPD to maintain an even greater police presence in trouble spots and other background units to prepare contingency plans in case of need.

Ironically, the shoot-out occurred on the same day that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into legislation the Nightlife Security Package that contains three bills enhancing nightlife security through the installation and use of video surveillance equipment and other safety measures.

Routine Traffic Stop Nets Drug Bust in Upper Manhattan
March 15, 2007

By Janet Walker

New York, NY – A routine traffic stop late yesterday afternoon in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan disrupted the afternoon calm as the Police Service Area 6 (PSA) Housing Bureau Police with the assistance of the New York Police Department’s 30th precinct arrested two men for traffic violations and drug possession.

The scene unfolded with a Ford Taurus running several traffic stops. According to Lt. James Giblin, of the NYPD's 30th precinct the PSA6 Police pursued the vehicle for traffic violations. The Police indicated to the driver of the vehicle that he was to pull the car over. He did not. The Police called the 30th for backup.

The driver of the vehicle, an African American Male in his early twenties, stopped the car at 143rd Street and Broadway. At that time, he jumped from the vehicle. NYPD officers followed him. The officers created a net at 145th Street and Broadway where the suspect ran directly to them and was apprehended.

The vehicle, a late model Ford Taurus, was given a cursory search at the scene by Detectives. It was then an airtight package containing ten to twelve ounces of Marijuana was discovered. The package, hidden in the wheel well section of the trunk, had been opened. The vehicle was impounded for further inspection. Preliminary reports revealed no outstanding warrant against the vehicle.

The second suspect also an African American male in his early twenties was arrested at the scene. There were no weapons found at the scene or on the men.

"It was a Housing Bureau arrest with the help of the 30th precinct," stated Lt. Giblin, of the 30th precinct. "The Housing Bureau spotted the vehicle driving erratically. They pursued them and called for assistance. The suspects were taken to Police Service Area 6 Housing Bureau were they have been charged with drug and traffic violations."

Unlike the Auxiliary NYPD Officers, Manhattan’s New York Police Department's Housing Bureau Officers provide for security and delivery of Police Services in and around New York City's Public Housing Projects. Staten Island is the only borough that does not include a NYPD Housing Unit. The other Boroughs that encompass New York City include Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. Queens and the Bronx operate a joint Housing Bureau; Manhattan and Brooklyn each have individual units.

The Housing Bureau Officers are dedicated to reducing the level of criminal activity within their zones in order to create a better quality of life for the 420,000 resident, employees, and guests of New York City's Public Housing. There are nine Police Service Area specialty units within the New York City’s Police Department.

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Reprinted from with permission of the author.

Image courtesy of Dread Scott Art and used with permission. []


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